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The power of Church and the community

Tobias church leader
Read how Grace Church Brockley is tackling poverty and deep debt as CAP interviews the church’s leader, Tobias. 

The power of true change

Tobias is the leader of Grace Church Brockley. He came into the post two years ago. Originally from Chicago, Tobias is living proof of how transformation can take place with God, having a past history of gang involvement and having spent some time in prison.

Now he has a heart to serve his local community via the local church. Tobias understands deeply how the Church can work alongside communities to bring lasting change by interacting with people where they feel comfortable. His life is proof of this.

One key way Grace Church Brockley support their local community is through their CAP Debt Centre, run jointly by Mel and Ruth. As he eloquently puts it, we are a missionally driven church that really longs to see people know Jesus.’

Tobias took some time to speak to us, to explain just how vital the Church is in the fight against UK poverty and how merging the local community with the Church leads to amazing results. Tobias’ passionate and practical approach to tackling UK poverty is deeply inspirational.

We have a commitment to seeing people being made whole, not just financially but emotionally and spiritually as well. 

– Tobias, church leader at Grace Church Brockley 

How long have you been leading Grace Church Brockley, and what is your favourite thing about serving your church community?

I’ve been at Grace Church for about two years now. My favourite thing about being here is simply the people and their love for God, as well as their heart for the community. I really see that reflected in the various outreach programmes we engage in, such as CAP and Chatterbox (our toddler group). We are intentional about engaging with the community, and that’s what I love about Grace Church Brockley. We are a missionally-driven church that genuinely desires to see people come to know Jesus. That’s what the church should be all about — spreading the message and being a presence.

How do you find doing church without a physical church building in the local community?

Right now, we simply go to where the people are, and in some ways, I think that’s one of the advantages of not having a church building. We get to go to where they hang out and find ourselves in that neutral space where we can share Christ with them. We get the opportunity to even help them physically or in any way we possibly can. Sometimes, this means paying for a community space, while other times it means driving to people’s homes or meeting them in cafes or pubs. There’s a level of intentionality where we are very conscious about meeting people where they are.

How do you feel about CAP’s services and how they are meeting the needs of those in your community?

CAP services are great as they provide the means to a new beginning for many people. I love the fact that we as a church are out there in the community helping people become debt free. The fact that we’ve been fully booked just really shows the level of commitment and drive that our Debt Coaches have to meet the needs of many within our community.

There’s a level of intentionality where we are very conscious about meeting people where they are. 

In what ways are you able to support people other than CAP’s debt help?

We try to integrate people within the life of the church. We do that by really encouraging people to get plugged in to fellowship groups and to get involved in the community. We know that wherever there is community, there’s support.

In your opinion, what role does the Church play in tackling poverty in the UK?

The Church can play a significant role in addressing poverty in the UK by encouraging involvement in programmes like CAP, as CAP’s vision aligns with the gospel’s teaching to address both spiritual and physical needs just as Jesus did.

church leader

We know that wherever there is community, there’s support. 

What have been some of the benefits that you’ve seen in partnering with CAP in your church?

There have been a few – one is seeing people flourish. They become part of the local church and they’re growing in their knowledge of God. I see many create a distance between their old life and the life that they now have where they’re free financially, they’re free spiritually and they are rediscovering life. That’s been an incredible joy to witness.

The other one is seeing people becoming debt free through CAP and wanting to give back. We have one person in our church now who CAP has helped out significantly and he’s now intending to become that coach and wanting to give back to help bring other people to church. I understand where this person was a few years ago and where this person is now, and it’s really encouraging to see how CAP has helped to facilitate that life change.

You really see more than just a need for financial freedom, you see brokenness. 

How can you get involved

Jesus had the ability to shape his local community, he met people where they were and spoke to their pain points and needs. Tobias reminds us of how when the Church and community stand together, lives can genuinely be transformed.

Will you consider a donation to CAP today? Your gift could help train up more Debt Coaches to serve their local communities, just like Mel and Ruth.

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Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

We urgently need your support to reach every person in poverty.

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'